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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
MINI guide/review - options

This guide is intended to help anyone - like me three months ago - trying to make sense of ordering their MINI. In no way is it intended to disparage anyone else's choices. In particular, a 1.5L Hardtop in Volcanic Orange with black roof and stripes can be had for $21,650 MSRP - and you just can't find that much fun in a car anywhere else for anywhere near that price.

Perfection

Major surprise - HUD (Heads Up Display). Absolutely, gobsmakingly, brilliant - my eyes never leave the road. Seeing your speed without having to look at the speedometer is great. But even better is showing the Navigation in the display. It shows you all the streets entering/exiting an intersection so it's like you get X-ray vision through traffic, trees, and buildings to see where oncoming cars might be coming from. I ordered it more or less on a lark - I wanted everything else in the Wired Upgrade package so it was relatively inexpensive. Order it if you can.

Confirmation of a correct choice for a different reason - paddle shifters (aka Sport Auto). I went into the MINI dealership intending to buy a manual. But after test driving a range of MINIs I found that the manual is the right choice for the 1.5L but there was simply no way I could shift a stick fast enough to keep up with the 2.0L engine in the lower gears. So I went with the paddle shifters. But my reason for giving the paddle shifters the #2 spot actually has to do with how it interacts with the Dynamic Damper Control (DDC) and potholes. Where I live the winter salt/ice cycle leaves punishing trenches and pits. So around town I leave my MINI in Mid mode to get the softer suspension. Which likes to leave the engine lugging at around 1350 RPM as my MINI valiantly tries to climb a hill. A quick tug on the left paddle and I and my engine are both happy. BTW, despite what the configurator says you can choose either the 2XC (JCW/red stitched) or 2XB(MINI yours/grey stitched) steering wheel.

Happy Choices

Dynamic Damper control - Do you live in a land of potholes? If yes, order the DDC.

16" Silver Victory Spokes - Again, if you live in a land of potholes and don't feel swapping out your runflats the day you pick up your car you're better off with the 16" wheels. And I both like how the Silver Victorys look and like that they are rarer than the silver loops. Your mileage may vary.

Satellite Grey Lounge seats and Satellite Grey door panel (actually much of the interior). Looks absolutely fabulous with the matching 'normal' grey headliner. And I love the black 'swoosh' of the piano black bezel against the grey door. Which leads to my only complaint - the default dash looks like boring pit of blackness. If you order the fiber alloy (or dark silver which is now gone) you get a silver door bezel. Which to me only looks OK if you lighten the armrest in the doors by choosing the Satellite Grey color line...which to me leaves the black glove compartment oddly floating in space. I've since ordered the dark silver dash surface pieces...but haven't installed them yet because I'm not sure they are that much of an improvement. You could order the cottonwood. Or the off-white.

White Roof with no sunroof - I can leave my MINI parked on a hot sunny day without returning to an oven. I don't know how much of this is from the white roof and how much is the light grey interior...but I'm happy all the same.

LED Cornering lights - I'm ambivalent about the LEDs themselves - I went by the reports of others that the base lights were rather dim so I really don't have a comparison. But if you've already paid for the LEDs the relatively small upcharge for the cornering lights is absolutely worth it - it is pretty awesome to be able to see where you are about to be going.

Arm rest - With the snap-in adapter it holds/charges my iPhone without having to turn on Bluetooth every time I drive. It gives my iPhone an extra bar everyplace I've tested. And once tilted down, it gives my arm a nice perch for using the iDrive.

Storage - Really nice 'trunk' plus other goodies.

Comfort Access - Key never leaves my pocket. Worth it to me.

Mixed feelings - The whole MINI connected/iDrive/Navigation/Bluetooth nightmare. If a rear camera wasn't a requirement because I live in a town with angled street parking I don't know if I would have bought all this stuff. The HUD solves some of the user interface issues, but the iDrive interface is really quite annoying - even compared to my Toyota's 10 year old touchscreen. And all the features of the iPhone apps really come down to two categories - apps that I should never have to see and instead should really 'back-end' behind the audio/nav interface (i.e. I have to search in another app for locations? Really?) and fun/silly stuff (i.e. how fast or 'green' is my driving). If you can do without the rear camera, I'd suggest you think quite seriously about getting the 'base' radio, a good mount, and a nice big iPhone (or android) for Nav/Audio. And save yourself $4,100.

Sadly gone - Garage Door opener. Works better than my remote and my other car's Homelink door opener.

Lastly - the configurator lies. Frequently. If there is something you want (or don't want) in your MINI check with your MA to see if it can happen.
 

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Hi ljmiii,

Thanks for a great post - really helpful! I was undecided about the navigation system until I read your comment. It is not off the list! I am thinking to take the Chili pack, plus automatic rear mirror, external chrome line, and the visibility kit. Do you think I should take the armrest, now that I wont have the GPS therefore using my iPhone a lot more? Also, did you take the Anthrazit lining - would it look odd if I dont? I am taking either glazing red, pepper white or midnight black (all with white roof).

I look forward to hearing from you,

Suny
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi ljmiii, Thanks for a great post - really helpful!Suny
Well thank you very much. There is just a lot about ordering your MINI that you can't find out except through experience...and I was grateful for getting to read about other's builds.
Do you think I should take the armrest, now that I wont have the GPS therefore using my iPhone a lot more? Also, did you take the Anthrazit lining - would it look odd if I dont? I am taking either glazing red, pepper white or midnight black (all with white roof). Suny
I like the armrest - particularly since it can be lowered to make a nice perch for accessing the iDrive controller. But money is money.
As for the rest...I'm on the world's slowest internet connection so I can't get the UK configurator to load so I don't know if the Chili pack defines an interior color. IMHO, the Anthracite looks good with blackish interiors - not so great with light greys and browns. And certainly fine with all the exterior colors you mentioned.
 
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